How does ISIL manage its wars?
Some important key notes regarding the developments on war against ISIL and ISIL’s ideology:
1- “The Land” is “the most essential component in the state formation, without a land, there is no state”.
Land is considered an essential corner stone in the terror groups and militias’ ideology and it is the essence of its existence. Since the declaration of the Islamic state, terrorization, lone wolf attacks and intimidation phase is now over. the declaration is not just an ad break, but is a declaration of reaching a new phase of Jihad that all Jihadis and Muslims all over the world were waiting to reach. before that, all what those groups have to offer was developing their tactics to guarantee the continuation of Jihad as the main goal, further more, it is the only and single goal of all caliphate and Islamic regimes, old, modern and new. And for “Jihad” to continue, there must be “a land” to claim and hold on to, and it is a direct correlation; holding the land means the continuation of Jihad and upon this, many have answered the caliph’s call to Jihad and joined “the land of jihad” “the land of the caliphate”. They would not have joined if their was not a strong sentiment of the existence of the land.
2- Within a year and a half, ISIL lost swaths of land it used to control, and that threatens the whole caliphate idea, which leads to shrinking in the numbers of new recruits, the defeat of the “rising caliphate”, weakness within ISIL internal ranks, specially most of its leaders were killed according to security and intelligence experts, the only first line leaders left are Albaghdadi and Aladnani, which it means that ISIL has to move to a new phase.
3- The rise of new terror groups describing their selves as “moderate” groups in Syria trying to take over ISIL , and that is the greatest challenge for ISIL, even greater than the coalition or countries like iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey and GCC, because those groups were born with the same ideology as ISIL. It is the brothers’ conflict as they know how to play the same game very well, and that is the reason why ISIL fears them the most and always focuses its hits on them, along with that, Alqaeda, which is still strong and present in the mass mind, is another challenge for ISIL to face. Where in Iraq, the Sunnis are the most significant danger that ISIL faces in case they officially join the coalition to fight it. The Sunni conflict with ISIL is a conflict over faith and shari’a domination, and no one matches ISIL in this conflict more than the Sunnis themselves. ISIL is aware of the reasons behind the call to arm and mobilize the Sunnis, therefore, ISIL is hitting them hard at their cities “Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi” and always trying to target them or to contain them and implicate the Sunnis with it.
4- More land loses for ISIL means loosing more resources that funds “the Caliphate”. ISIL is very keen about its resources, especially oil, and that means it has its impact on ISIL’s wars and its fighters, as it has thousands of fighters which all their needs, their weaponry, manufacturing, training, and development represent a dire demand for it to meet.
Now, what is the scenario? And how it would be accomplished and why is it the one single solution on the table for now?
1- The coalition needs to deal with ISIL with a “containment” strategy: to contain ISIL in one limited geographical location in Iraq and Syria and skirmish them quietly.
2- For ISIL accepts this idea and see its importance for it survival, and that is very likely what is happening. ISIL now is trying to draw its geographical boundaries and control its resources within its boundaries. ISIL also is working, and quickly, on preparing a new generation that strongly believes in the caliphate, a generation that never cares about war, but more about the concept of the caliphate itself. A generation that is deeply indoctrinated that will turn them into fuel to protect the lands ISIL controls. Also, ISIL is adopting the “vital range”, and that is, to push away the danger from the “settled lands” that is currently controlling, those are the “empowerment and stability” lands, like Mosul and Raqqa and the like, and the roads that connect them together, and ISIL’s attempts to create North Western borders to its territory.
3- ISIL is trying to stop waging major battles and only work on small wars of attrition, like what is happening in Ramadi, Tikrit, Baiji and Kurdistan. This is the current strategy that ISIL is following nowadays.
4- Lengthening the war. ISIL is not after victory, and will not allow any party to win victoriously. All what ISIL is doing is to keep the current status quo, and escalates it at times, then return it back at a level ISIL determines it for its enemies.
5- Opening a conflict front between the Sunnis, the Shiits and the Kurds at the hot zones, which buys ISIL more time and strength. The indicators from Iraq shows that all parties are at a turning corner, and if they fail to take defiant decisions that put them together and put fighting ISIL on top of their priorities, they will loose all together and ISIL wins the war.
6- ISIL uses the same tactics regarding tribe’s, the same tactics used by the founding Fathers of the caliphate, like the Umayyads the Abbasids in distributing the tribes and their significance. ISIL keeps close those tribes who intertwine with the Kurds and gives them very wide range of terms of reference to govern their selves, which it means, in return, a free defense for ISIL’s territories.